“You’re being kidded. When the bell rang, I said ‘It’s those bulls again. They’re getting to be nuisances. Let’s play a joke on them.'”
“‘While I talk to them, one of you scream and we’ll see how far we string them along until they tumble.'” Haring says “Sounds reasonable.”
Regi bends forward in her chair and laughs hysterically. Stuart starts and then smiles. Rixey frowns at Haring and says “Cut it out Arkaby.”
Haring says “Where’d the tomato sauce on his head come from?” “Um. The Hot Pocket Regi humorously threw at him.” Stuart says “Yes. In fun.”
“Horse feathers!” “Don’t be a sap, Haring. That’s our story and we’ll stick to it. What are you going to do? It’s no crime to kid a copper.”
Haring spins on his heel. His fist clicks on my chin. I steady myself with a backward step. Before my fist comes up Rixey pushes between us.
He pleads “No Haring for Christ’s sake!” I say “Then get him out of here quick!” Haring stands with his fists clenched in front of his body.
Haring says “Get their names and addresses.” I’ve had enough. I say “We all live here. You have the address.” He indicates Stuart “Him too?”
“He sleeps on the couch.” “Where does she sleep?” “Rixey get him OUT!” He turns to Regi “You sure you won’t swear a warrant against Arkaby?”
Regi says “Huh?” “You say the word and we’ll drop him back in the slammer.” “What are you talking about? I just got him out!” “So no?” “NO!”
Rixey walks to the door with Haring on his heel. “I hope you know what you’re doing, Arkaby.” “Don’t worry about that Rixey. I don’t.”
I follow the cops out and watch them get in their car. Before driving off Rixey says “I’m still nailing you for the Farley Granger murder.”
“As Bob Dylan sang ‘A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.'” Haring says “That was Emerson, not Dylan.” “Emerson?” “Yes.”
I re-enter humming Rainy Day Women. Regi says “You’re absolutely the wildest person I’ve ever known. Do you always carry on so high-handed?”
I sit on the edge of the sofa, cursing Rixey and Haring for five minutes without break, cursing obscenely, blasphemously, repetitiously.
Regi says “I’ve never seen you so upset.” “Childish, huh? I know, but, by God, I do hate being hit without hitting back.” “Since when?”
“A cheap enough price to pay for winning” I touch my chin with careful fingers “though I’ll remember it.” Stuart says “You let him hit you?”
“Slugging me Haring overplayed his hand. If I’d mixed it up with him we’d be telling our goofy story downtown.” “Sure. We’ll go with that.”
I say to Regi “You’ve had a talk with Stuart. Now you can talk to me. What did you do?” “Nothing.” “He screamed for the cops for nothing?”
“I tried to frighten him into keeping still ’til they had gone and he overreacted.” Stuart says “Don’t forget she hit me with a Hot Pocket!”
“I had to! He attacked me with a Totino!” “She’s lying!” “OK. New rule: No throwing snack foods at each other. Can you two live with that?”
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